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18 August 2013

More attempts at archery

My archery life has been pretty hit and miss over the past few weeks. With travel and the wedding and then more travel, it's been hard to put away time for practice and improvement. All of my archery pals are still really supportive, but, since I'm not getting much practice in, I'm not finding as much success as I would like to. And, with the competitive tournament season coming to a close in the near future (like, this weekend), I was pretty sure that I wouldn't have the opportunity to even attempt an actual field course.

Since we got back from our wine-laden honeymoon, I've been making a more conscious effort to shoot more regularly. I shot league night Thursday and was so discouraged with my skill (or lack thereof) that I completely stopped scoring my ins. My elevation was generally fine, but my shots were drifting far right and I couldn't figure out why. After league, I told JD that he needed to mark a 20 yard line in our back yard so I could practice more at home. Being the wonderful husband that he is, he did exactly that on Friday while he hung out with his dad (who was in town for the weekend). Despite the nasty rain on Saturday, I got out in the yard to shoot a few arrows during a rain break.

This afternoon, JD and I drove out to the far side of Raleigh (which is almost as far as the far side of the moon but worth the drive for the wonderful company) to practice at our good friends' archery range. They've just built a house and have installed both an indoor 20-yard range and a long-distance range in the yard. They're both serious and talented archers. Obviously. :) It was the first time I've ever shot more than 20 yards, and, despite being really nervous that I would lose all of my arrows in the woods behind the target, I did okay. JW, LW, and JD all helped me figure out my distances, and I left their house with marks for different distances. It was pretty exciting to shoot at 60 yards and have relative success. And, by "relative success," I mean I went home with as many arrows as I left with and didn't kill anyone or anything.

Now the scary thing is this weekend. The state championship archery shoot is in Yadkinville this weekend, and, now that I have marks, I feel like I should shoot the tournament. I'm not eligible to win or even place (not that I would given that I haven't even broken 270 yet), but the experience would be pretty valuable. JW and LW have been really great in helping me learn the whole field archery thing (and archery in general), and it would be really great to shoot with them. But, I won't lie. I'm nervous. REALLY nervous. No one expects me to do anything amazing, but I want to do well and not embarrass myself.

See? This is my problem. This is why I find it so hard to try new things. I always want to be the best at everything, and, unless I feel confident that I will be, it's hard for me to take the risk. Up to this point, archery has just been a fun thing to do while hanging out with people I like. If I participate in a tournament, it adds a whole new level of stress and importance to it all. And I certainly won't be the best at it. In fact, it's pretty much guaranteed that I'll be the worst. And that makes me a little sick to my stomach.

We'll see what happens. I'll probably shoot. If not just because of the peer pressure. And you'd think I'd be immune to it given that I'm a teacher. Hmmm ...

11 August 2013

Weddings and honeymoons

So, I did it. I got married. And there is a long post coming all about the big day in the very near future. Everything went wonderfully well, and it was a beautiful and magical and all the things I/we hoped it would be. But I can't post in detail until I have some more photos from the big day. So, for now, the honeymoon recap will have to suffice. I'll make it picture heavy, don't worry.

JD and I decided to wait until Monday to head off on our honeymoon. The airfare was considerably cheaper, and having a day to tie up loose ends after the wedding proved to be quite beneficial. The week leading up to the wedding was so busy that I couldn't imagine having to pack and arrange doggy sitting as well. We flew to San Francisco REALLY early on Monday. Like the plane took off at 6am. Yikes. It was early, but that meant we arrived early on the West Coast. We were in our hotel noon and off exploring shortly after.

We hit the San Francisco aquarium first. Of course. They had some amazing jellyfish and OTTERS! OH! And dancing starfish, too.

A cool green anemone type thing. 

I love taking pictures of jellies through aquarium walls. I'm thankful for aquarium walls. 

They're dancing! Adorableness.

Otters!! Just chillin'. 

Look at those teeth! They're a little less cuddly now. 

The harbor was pretty. Lots of boats and lots of wind. And they sky fluctuated from brilliant blue to cloudy-grey within moments.

 And Wharf 39 is home to a bevy of sea lions! I had no idea. There are about 60 living there now. During the winter months, that number skyrockets into the hundreds. I can't even imagine the noise.

Tuesday, before driving north to Sonoma, we visited Golden Gate Park. It was cloudy and blustery with some rain in the air. Whoever said San Francisco is 65 and sunny every day is a damn liar. It didn't get out of the 50s the whole time we were there. But we made the best of it and enjoyed the sights. 

Windmills. In the park. They weren't turning, but still. Windmills?

Surfers. No way would I be out in that water in that weather. No. Way. 

Not sure what this is, but it washed up on the beach. Maybe sea grass of some sort?

Not one but TWO windmills. 

And buffalo?!
 As soon as we crossed the Golden Gate bridge (which was too cloudy to capture on film. The top was lost in the clouds), the sky cleared, and the temperature rose approximately 25 degrees. No exaggeration. The Sonoma Valley was beautiful. Not what I expected at all, but beautiful nonetheless. I was expecting a lush green vibrant wine country because that is what wine country in NY looks like. California's wine country is scrubby and arid and dry. In fact, the only green to be seen was the vines.

Our first vineyard! St. Francis. 

The backyard at St Francis. Beautiful. 


While I didn't love the wine at Landmark, they has a beautiful courtyard with gorgeous flowers. 

We took our first of two estate tours at Benziger. They are a biodynamic vineyard which was really cool to hear about. The only thing that leaves their property is wine in bottles. Everything else is used or recycled in some way. They've even planted plants that provide nutrients and compounds to the soil that allows them to forgo the use of pesticides and artificial chemical additives. It was all pretty fascinating. And beautiful. 

24,000 square feet of caves to store wine. Wow. 

As we were leaving, a little deer crossed the road. She had two babies in the forest. It was so sweet!
 Our second winery tour was at Gundlach Bundschu. They are the oldest family run winery in California (the country?), and their estate was beautiful.


Grapes on the vine. Saw lots of this. Never got old. 

A pomegranate tree. I had no idea they grew on trees!

The views were all so breathtaking.  

Before we left the valley, we stopped at Lake Sonoma to take in the beautiful views. 

And then ... the REDWOODS. We drove north to Crescent City on Friday. The weather got much cooler and the landscape got much greener. And the trees. The trees were HUNDREDS of feet high and amazingly straight. There are no words to describe them. 

See? They're big!

They even made me feel small!

JD climbed into the exposed root system. Impressive, no? The root system, not his climbing. :)

In the park and all over the northern coastal area, there were Roosevelt Elk just roaming around. As we drove up Highway 101, we happened upon a large herd just chilling and snacking on the side of the road. 

This guy was in charge. 

And there were babies!!

I love this pic. Caught mid-bugle. 

And, of course, more trees.

And more elk ...

And ocean ...

And elk ...

All in all, we had a fantastic time. We visited dozens of wineries and tasting rooms, ate fantastic food (which I managed to be completely GF all week with the problems!), took over 700 pictures, drove over 1400 miles, and are already planning to go back for our 5th anniversary. 

Of course, when there is no one to take pictures of the two of us, we relied on selfies to prove that we were actually together. 

Cold on the beach.

Warm in the sun. 


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